5 Lessons Learned – NFL Week 11

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Bill Belichick has always said the main part of the NFL season starts after Thanksgiving.

Well after 11 weeks of preliminaries and undercards, we are now ready for the run home.

Road teams continued to dominate, winning against the spread for the fourth straight week as the weather starts to turn across the northern hemisphere.

We’ve broken down the stats and stories for our weekly NFL recap here!

1 – How Atlanta Won 4 Games Remains a Mystery

For the most part, Atlanta is a fairly forgettable NFL team, it’s not even the biggest American Football side in its state, that honour goes to the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

The Falcons’ Week 11 game against the Patriots on Thursday Night Football might have been the first time you saw them outside of RedZone.

Heading into the game they were 4-5 and had a couple of things going for them in spite of missing two key offensive players in Cordarrelle Patterson and Calvin Ridley.

It was why you could talk yourself into an upset win at home over New England.

Instead, the entire team laid a massive egg getting shut out and never looking threatening.

Perhaps the most telling sequence came in the second quarter when New England was leading 10-0.

Atlanta drove to the New England 14 and had 3rd and 1, only for Matt Ryan to get sacked for a 13 yard loss.

That meant they had to settle for a field goal attempt, which Younghoe Koo made from 45 yards, but it was nullified due to a an illegal formation penalty on the Falcons.

Koo missed the retake from 50 yards out and two possessions later, New England was ending the first half with a field goal of their own.

It was all downhill from there with Atlanta’s seven second half possessions ending as follows: punt, punt, turnover on downs, interception, interception, interception returned for a touchdown and interception.

Playing like that, you have to wonder how they made it to four wins on the season.

The good news is even with their limited skill set, they are favoured over Jacksonville next week, which probably says more about the Jaguars than the Falcons.

2 – The Eagles Are Heating Up

It’s tough to make a strong case that a 5-6 team might wind up hosting a playoff game but the Eagles might just go on a run thanks to some help from the schedule maker.

In the last four weeks, the Eagles have won three, cut down on their turnovers and averaged over 200 rushing yards per game.

To make it simple, they have found their identity.

With an improving defence pitching in with some key plays, the Eagles are set up to take care of business.

Take a look at their run home and tell me a 5-1 record is out of the question, they have back to back road games against the Giants and Jets before their bye.

Then in the final month of the season, they host Washington and the Giants, before travelling to Washington.

Week 18 brings a home game against Dallas who will either have the division wrapped up, or the Eagles will be in position to steal it with a win.

Nobody should be backing them for the Super Bowl or anything, but don’t be surprised if the Eagles run their way to the postseason.

3 – Jonathan Taylor Touchdown

When Derrick Henry was lost for the season, the big question was which running back would take over the mantle as the most dangerous offensive player in the NFL.

Based on Week 11 alone, that honour is now held by Colts bulldozer Jonathan Taylor who enjoyed a career day against AFC heavyweights Buffalo.

Already in career best form, Taylor went off for 185 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards and five total touchdowns on the day.

Yep, five touchdowns, 21 teams could not manage five touchdowns in Week 11.

The first touchdown gave Indy an early lead.

The second one required some determination to run it into the end zone and make a few would be tacklers miss.

You would think by the time he scored his third touchdown of the first half, the Bills defence might try and slow him down.

Touchdowns four and five were just rubbing it in by that stage.

If you are playing at home, Taylor has now scored at least one touchdown in eight games and topped 100 rushing yards in six of those, putting him on course for his first ever NFL rushing title.

At this pace he might also wind up winning MVP and is $17 in our market at the moment.

4 – Tennessee Plays To The Level Of Its Competition

Like a lot of teams, Tennessee has shown some really good signs in its wins and some massively concerning signs in its losses.

It was hard not to be impressed with they way they defeated the Bills, Chiefs, Colts and Rams in four straight weeks.

But then you see their losses to the Jets and Texans either side of that winning streak and you wonder if there is something that they get caught out by when playing a massively inferior opponent.

It certainly seems like there is a motivation issue when playing the truly horrendous sides and the Titans could not take a trick in the rain here.

Turnovers punctuated a sloppy performance that saw them drop to 8-3.

On the plus side, they are still the top overall seed in the AFC heading into Week 12 and have a very big game against New England coming up.

Chances are they will be fit and firing for that one.

5 – The Short Turnaround Won’t Help Dallas

It was billed as a shootout between two elite offences, but Dallas and Kansas City turned into a defensive grind.

It was the Cowboys’ worst offensive performance of the year being held to just nine points and battling as the Chiefs defence took hold of the game early and never let go.

When Dallas had a chance to get back in the game, an poor throw from Prescott killed off any hope of a rally.

To make matters worse, Amari Cooper missed the game with Covid and CeeDee Lamb exited with a concussion, severely limiting the Dallas passing game heading into a Thanksgiving tilt with Las Vegas.

Down on talent and down on confidence with a four day turnaround, Dallas will be up against it as they try to sort their season out.